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Wanted: New Direct Seeding Answers

One Illinois researcher says New Zealand’s cross-slot openers may be the answer many no-tillers are looking for.

The endless search for new ways to reduce costs while reducing soil erosion has kept Butch Fisher busy. This no-till farmer and district conservationist with the Douglas County Soil and Water Conservation District in Tuscola, Ill., has spent countless hours researching direct seeding.

Fisher says the search for a better seeding method came from problems reported by farmers when attempting to no-till corn. After extensive searching, Fisher found cross-slot openers to be a potential answer for overcoming many problems with no-tilling corn.

“After we started looking, we found the only opener ever designed for direct corn seeding was the cross-slot,” he says.

“Unfortunately, it was manufactured only in New Zealand.”

Getting The Ball Rolling.

Because obtaining the cross-slot openers was costly, Fisher secured funding from Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, a local farm machinery dealer and governmental agencies to import a set of openers for testing last spring.

“What we ended up getting was a six-row, 30-inch, 1750 John Deere planter which we equipped with the cross-slot openers,” he explains. “It also has liquid fertilizer and granular chemical boxes.”

How It Works.

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"The cross-slot opener creates a horizontal slot, while our no-till planters create a vertical slot,” Fisher told 660 attendees at the 1999 National No-Tillage Conference in St. Louis, Mo. “This eliminates sidewall or slot-based compaction.

“It ensures a complete closure of the slot under almost all soil conditions. Each opener has its own hydraulic cylinder for adjusting down pressure.”

Fisher explains the cross-slot process features a slight lifting of…

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